New Mexico Mule Deer for NR

louisianahunter

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
40
So I'm a NR from Louisiana trying to plan my second mule deer hunt. Last year I went to Wyoming on DIY on one of their general tags and had a great time but we didn't see any deer in a week of hard hunting (we were a little too early for the migration). I'm dedicated and not shy about putting in tons of hours of research but scouting isn't an option because of where I live. Two friends and I are considering NM mostly because it's closer and they don't have any points so it offers even odds for us all. We're looking at units that have high public land % and have 5-30% draw odds (we're okay with only one person having a tag and the rest joining just to learn).

All that being said, and I hate to be that guy but, I need help. Despite all the research I did, last year I learned I really have no clue what I'm doing out west and I'd rather not repeat last year. I'm not asking at all for anyone's spot, but just trying to figure out where mule deer are and what kind of habitat to look for. NM is very diverse and some areas look like obvious habitat but it's densely forested (like 49) so it'd be hard to hunt, some like the 2s are dependent on the migration but other's aren't (I think?), other areas I can't imagine anything living there with so little vegetation and them being so flat but they sell a bunch tags. Not to mention it seems like a lot of the units on gohunt descriptions are "used to be a great mule deer unit, not any more". Am I right to be mostly looking at the Glia and Carson National forest areas?

Overall we're pretty set on NM because its much closer and we like the idea of us three collectively applying (not as group) and having a 50% chance someone will have a tag. I'd love to hear from a resident or anyone whos hunted NM a lot what type of habitat to look for/what to avoid (pm me). Obviously I don't expect anyone to recommend any specific units, it's just hard not knowing anyone from the state you're hunting in to get advice from. We need to at least see some animals this year if these guys are going to keep following me on hunts out west.
 

texans42

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
1,890
NM is the land of live by your glass and feet for mule deer. Wether high desert or treeline’ish the story it is the same. They don’t manage for quality like CO does, they give out a ton of tags and pretty much unlimited LO tags, with that said some good deer to be found. Study your season dates carefully, and good luck. There are no just terrible units. All the NF’s have deer.
 

Felix40

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 27, 2015
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1,647
Location
New Mexico
That pretty much sums it up. Trophy quality is not very good state wide but just about everywhere you go you can find a few deer.
 

SDHNTR

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
3,135
Not sure NM would be the state I'd gravitate towards. The few areas with quality public land deer hunting are REALLY hard to draw. Outside of that, quality deer hunting is mostly on private land. And much of the rest of the state are areas with very low deer densities. So finding an easy to draw area with public land is going to make for tough hunting, which will be the case anywhere!

My suggestion is to find multiple states and apply in lots of areas with better hunting, but lower draw odds. Apply in enough places and overall your odds will mathematically improve.
 

hunting1

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,372
Location
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
NM is tough or the best deer migrate down from CO when the weather gets bad. Light snow equals few deer migrating. Unit 2 is not what is used to be either, still some great deer but as said would not be my first choice with cost of tags, time, etc. Good luck!
 
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louisianahunter

Junior Member
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Apr 23, 2021
Messages
40
Not sure NM would be the state I'd gravitate towards. The few areas with quality public land deer hunting are REALLY hard to draw. Outside of that, quality deer hunting is mostly on private land. And much of the rest of the state are areas with very low deer densities. So finding an easy to draw area with public land is going to make for tough hunting, which will be the case anywhere!

My suggestion is to find multiple states and apply in lots of areas with better hunting, but lower draw odds. Apply in enough places and overall your odds will mathematically improve.
Yeah thats why our goal is to apply a few people and have a decent chance of one of us drawing. With my job I have to request vacation time before the draw even occurs believe it or not. (and if I don't draw I'll use it to bow hunt here in Louisiana so it's fine). That's why we're kind of all in on New Mexico while building points in other states. Do you think we should focus on elk in NM so that if we were to draw we'd have a better hunting experience?

Again mostly what we're looking for is to learn.
 
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louisianahunter

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Apr 23, 2021
Messages
40
I’d look at the sands (southeast corner). They give out a lot of tags in those units. There are plenty of big deer harvested. Plus it would be closest to Louisiana
You mean near the white sands national park? That's an area I haven't looked at much, figure it was too dry.
 

Bgmhunter32

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
56
I live in Carlsbad and certainly wouldn’t drive from Louisiana to hunt deer here- decent deer numbers in the SE corner buts tough hunting (warm fall temps so deer are not active in daylight) and lots of tags and hunters. Wyoming/Colorado and even UT general deer units are better than 95% of the NM deer hunts.
 

FLATHEAD

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
1,233
I've hunted southern/se NM a few times for Aoudad, Gemsbok, Javelina.
I can count the number of muley bucks I have seen without using all
my fingers.
 
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louisianahunter

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
40
If you want to hunt in NM then switch to elk, it’ll be a much better hunt.
Yeah from what everyone it saying we may just adjust and plan for applying elk and be okay if no one draws. It seems like there's just so many more good options with elk.
 

kirk.ringey

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
21
I did an out of state NM hunt this fall. We were successful, but I wouldn't do it again unless it was for one of the northern units that are very hard to draw. Deer were pretty few and far between. Elk is a different story...
 

nomadicbohunk

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
12
Location
Great Plains
I was just out in Carlsbad and talked to a lot of folks and spent a lot of time outside in that area. It looks like super fun country to hunt, but not worth traveling that far for. I send in all over and NM is a state I really don't try for mule deer in. I can find general hunts that are better than many about all over. They get lots of pressure and have low densities. The good units are so dependent on the migration too. I know someone who got burned hard on a 2C late hunt a while back. They went with a very reputable outfitter and a 140 was the biggest anyone saw. The migration hit as they were leaving and they saw 2 over 180 from the road driving out. It's just how it goes.
 
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